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Political Review:

Vietnam in 2017

Emeritus Professor Carlyle A. Thayer Presentation to Vietnam Update 2017 Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University Canberra, November 20, 2017

Outline

1. Vietnam Communist Party Central Committee plenums

2. Prime Minister and Cabinet

3. National Assembly

4. Anti-Corruption Campaign

5. Crackdown on bloggers, human rights/pro- democracy activists

6. Politics of Life: Vietnam’s One-Party State

1. Outcome of the Central Committee Plenums 2017

1. Outcome of the Central Committee Plenums 2017
1. Outcome of the Central Committee Plenums 2017

5 th Plenum (May 5-10, 2017)

Approved three resolutions:

Completing the socialist-oriented market economy institutions

Continuing to re-organize and improve the efficiency of state-owned enterprises

Developing the private economy into an important driving force of the socialist-orientated market economy

Đinh La Thăng issued official warning and dismissed

Đinh La Thăng replaced by Nguyễn Thiện Nhân on May 7, 2017 as Secretary of
Đinh La Thăng replaced by Nguyễn Thiện Nhân on May 7, 2017 as Secretary of

Đinh La Thăng replaced by Nguyễn Thiện Nhân on May 7, 2017 as Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee

6 th Plenum (October 4-10, 2017)

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc: Report on the Socio-Economic Situation and State Budget in 2017 and Tasks for 2018

Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình : Report on the Plan on Enhancing Protection, Care for and Improvement of Public Health

Phạm Bình Minh: Report on Population Work

Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ: Report on Project to Reform Management and Financial Mechanisms and Reorganize Public Administrative Units

6 th Plenum (October 4-10, 2017)

Nguyễn Xuân An dismissed as Đà Nẵng City party secretary

Secretariat enlarged by appointment of two new members:

Phan Đình Trạc, Central Commission for Internal Affairs, vice chairman of Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption

Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Director of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, vice chairman of Central Theoretical Council

Regulation on Personnel Rotation (98-QD/TW)

Personnel strategy and rotation of leading and managerial personnel

Steering Committees for Northwest, Southwest and Central Highlands regions to be dissolved

Health Issues and Personnel Appointments

Health Issues and Personnel Appointments Đinh Thế Huynh, head of Secretariat, reported seriously ill Trần Quốc

Đinh Thế Huynh, head of Secretariat, reported seriously ill

Thế Huynh, head of Secretariat, reported seriously ill Trần Quốc Vượng Thường trực Ban Bí thư

Trần Quốc Vượng Thường trực Ban Bí thư August 1, 2017

Health Issues and Personnel Appointments

Health Issues and Personnel Appointments sident Tran Dai Quang and his wife Nguyen Thi Hien k

sident Tran Dai Quang and his wife Nguyen Thi Hien k down the stairs at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, rch 1, 2017. REUTERS/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool Reuters

President Trần Đại Quang appears in public on August 25 for the first time since 25 July when he met the secretary of Russia's security council, Nikolai Patrushev.

2. Prime Minister and Cabinet

2. Prime Minister and Cabinet

Environmental Pollution April-May 2016

Continues to Cast Shadow in 2017

Pollution April-May 2016 Continues to Cast Shadow in 2017 Formosa Plastics chemical spill, April 2016 Public
Pollution April-May 2016 Continues to Cast Shadow in 2017 Formosa Plastics chemical spill, April 2016 Public

Formosa Plastics chemical spill, April 2016 Public protests Slow government response Compensation an issue

Prime Minister’s Economic Reform Agenda

Socialist market economy

Proactively pursue global integration with aim to become middle income country by 2020

Reform of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)

Reform banking sector reduce public debt

Anti-corruption/vested interests (extra-legal) PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng’s cronies, bankers, real estate salesmen

3. National Assembly

14 th Legislature

3. National Assembly 14 t h Legislature

National Assembly 3 rd Session, May 22-June 21, 2017

Passed twelve laws, six bills and twelve resolutions

perfected the institutions of the socialist-oriented market economy mechanism

Law on Management and Use of State Assets (amended)

Criminal Code

Law on State Compensation Liability

Law on Legal Aid,

Planning Law postponed due to contentious content

Three days allocated to question and answer sessions out of one month

National Assembly 4 th Session, 23 October-24 November

Socio-Economic Development Plan, 2018

Approved budget allocation for 2018

Passed amendments and supplements to articles of the Law on Physical Training and Sports, the Law on Credit Institutions, and Law on Overseas Representative Missions of The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Submitted drafts on Law on Forest Protection and Development, Law on Planning, Law on Protection of Government Secrets and Law on Network Security

National Assembly 4 th Session, 23 October-24 November

National Assembly 4 t h Session, 23 October-24 November Approved new Minister of Transport, Nguyễn Văn

Approved new Minister of Transport, Nguyễn Văn Thể (L) and new Government Inspector General, Lê Minh Khái. Former transport minister, Trương Quang Nghĩa, was appointed to serve as the Party Secretary of Đà Nẵng City, while former Government Inspector General, Phan Văn Sáu, was appointed party secretary of Sóc Trăng province.

4. Anti-Corruption Campaign

4. Anti-Corruption Campaign

Petro Viet Nam, Sacombank, Ocean Bank and Vietnam Construction Bank

Petro Viet Nam, Sacombank, Ocean Bank and Vietnam Construction Bank Mass trial of 51 company and
Petro Viet Nam, Sacombank, Ocean Bank and Vietnam Construction Bank Mass trial of 51 company and

Mass trial of 51 company and bank officials

Hà Văn Thắm (OceanBank)

Hà Văn Thắm (OceanBank) Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ocean Commercial Joint

Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ocean Commercial Joint Stock Bank loss of $94 million

Nguyễn Xuân Sơn sentenced to death

Nguyễn Xuân Sơn sentenced to death Former Chairman of the Board Petro Vietnam Loss of $69

Former Chairman of the Board Petro Vietnam Loss of $69 million

Trịnh Xuân Thanh kidnapped in Germany

Trịnh Xuân Thanh kidnapped in Germany

5. Arrest and Trials of Bloggers and Human Rights/pro-Democracy Activists

Over 21 pro-democracy activists and bloggers arrested in 2016; at least 17 arrested in 2017 Over 110 prisoners of conscience 2017 (HRW) 36 cases where activists were beaten by government associated thugs (Jan 2015-Apr

2017)

Mẹ Nấm on trial January 2017

Mẹ Nấm on trial January 2017 Convicted in July and sentenced to 10 years in prison

Convicted in July and sentenced to 10 years in prison for “conducting propaganda against the state”

Brotherhood for Democracy

Brotherhood for Democracy Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung Nhà đấu tranh Trần Anh Kim

Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung

Nhà đấu tranh Trần Anh Kim và đồng sự Lê Thanh Tùng - Hội Anh Em Dân chủ Sentenced December 2016 upheld May 2017

Trần Thị Nga (Thúy Nga)

Anti-China activist,on East Sea, land and labour rights, Formosa toxic spill

Brotherhood for Democracy

Nguyễn Văn Túc, arrested 2008, released 2012, re- arrested in 2017 7 th member of Brotherhood

for Democracy Nguyễn Văn Túc, arrested 2008, released 2012, re- arrested in 2017 7 t h

6. Politics of Life: Vietnam’s One-Party State

Explaining Vietnamese Politics

Elite Power Struggle

Contending Policy Currents (four headed) Weak State, Strong Society

Political Authority

Sustainable Governance Indicators

Sectoral representation

Elite Power Struggle – Zachary Abuza

Secretary General Nguyễn Phú Trọng

elected for third term at 12 th VCP Congress in January

2016

Expected to step down at mid-term party conference

Two contenders to replace him

Đinh Thế Huynh

Trần Đại Quang

Contending Policy Currents – Alex Vuving

Conservatives Modernizers ModeratesModerates RentRent SeekersSeekers
Conservatives
Modernizers
ModeratesModerates
RentRent SeekersSeekers

Sectoral Re[resentation on the Central Committee

Sector olitburo entral Party-State econdary/Local ilitary

11 th Congress

12 th Congress

9%

10.5%

38%

35.5%

42%

42%

11%

12%

Leadership Change:Central Committee

12 th Party Congress, January 2016

180 (175) full voting members, 20 (25) alternate

Retained full members 58%

Full New/Alternate members 42%

Continuity with the past rather than abrupt change

General transition 40s, 50s and 60s

Sectoral composition only minor changes

Paper Leviathan: Political Authority

Adam Fforde and Lada Homutova

Leviathan: Political Authority Adam Fforde and Lada Homutova • How is authority ( uy ) perceived

How is authority (uy) perceived by Vietnamese citizens?

Relationship between authority and power

You can have power without authority but you cannot have authority without power

State has authority but lacks elements of power

Weak State, Strong Society

Bertelsmann Foundation, Sustainable Governance Indicators

Status Index:

Quality of Democracy

Policy Performance

Management Index

Executive Capacity

Executive Accountability

Six Step Process

Two subject matter experts provide scores on each variable. The scores range from 1 (low) to 10 (high). The scores are grouped into four bands: 1-2, 3-5, 6-7 and 9-10

Sustainable Governance Indicators Status Index

Quality of Democracy

Electoral process

Access to information

Civil rights

Rule of law

Policy Performance

Economy and employment

Social affairs

Security

Resources

Sustainable Governance Indicators Management Index

Executive Capacity

Steering capability (strategic

capacity, inter-ministerial coordination, evidence-based instruments, societal consultation and policy communication)

Effective Policy implementation

Institutional learning

(adaptability and organizational reform capacity)

Executive Accountability

Citizens

Legislature

Intermediary organizations [Insufficient data]

Sustainable Governance Indicators Aggregate Score of Two Indices

Country

Aggregate

Band

Classification

Score

Singapore

7.3

2

Medium High

Indonesia

4.6

3

Medium Low

Malaysia

4.4

3

Medium Low

Vietnam

3.8

3

Medium Low

Carlyle A. Thayer, ”Weak States and Strong Societies in Southeast Asia,” in Amin Saikal, ed., Weak States, Strong Societies (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2015). 149-172.

Weak but Developing State

Organisation

Survey

Ranking

World Economic Forum

Global Competitiveness Report

55

out of 137

2017-18

Heritage Foundation

Index of Economic Freedom

63

out of 181

2017

World Bank

Ease of Doing Business Report,

82

out of 190

Transparency International

United Nations Development Programme

Reporters Without Borders

2017

Corruption Perceptions Index

2017

Human Development Index 2016

Worldwide Press Freedom Index

2017

113 out of 176

115 out of 188

175 out of 180

Integration, Dynamic Reform and Comprehensive Development

Vietnam’s Global Competitiveness Index (World Economic Forum) jumped 20 ranks over five years to 55 th of 137 (2017-18)

Vietnam’s Doing Business Rank (World Bank) increased 14 ranks in one year (ASEAN 5 Group), 68 th out of 190

Global Innovation Index (World Property Organisation), jumped 12 ranks [time period not specified], 47 th out of 127 (May 2017)

Vietnam’s middle class account for 10% to rise to 50% by 2035 (World Bank)

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at Vietnam Business Summit (7 November

2017)

Political Review:

Vietnam in 2017

Emeritus Professor Carlyle A. Thayer Presentation to Vietnam Update 2017 The Australian National University Canberra, November 20, 2017